As promised for the Slovenians wanting to move to UK out there, here is my two cents on “soft landing” in the UK. Beware, this is not the story of how I woke up on a bus in Zone 6 after a crazy night out, this one is extremely boring.
I wanted to make it easy for me – as easy as possible. There was a Slovenian travel agency that offered me that. They suggested Britbound to me. Unfortunately, they have done more damage to me than good. As I am saying this – please mind, I am writing this from a perspective of a Slovenian citizen. Our flatmate is Australian and they have been super helpful with helping him.
Why was I not happy with them?
First of all, time in London is precious – and they have wasted mine.
What was I promised in Slovenia and what have I actually received?
1. A phone call before departure for any questions that I may have – never happened.
2. Bank account – what they mean by that is they call the bank for you and arrange a meeting. Absolute waste of time. Why? We are offered Lloyds and Barclays. If you want to open an account at Lloyds as a Slovenian citizen (I can’t emphasize this enough!) you need an employment letter or a proof of address that is not your rental agreement (a utility bill in your name – very unlikely for it to be in your name). Easiest way to get a bank account at Barclays is to have a National Insurance Number, more known as NIN. You can apply for a NIN after being in UK for more than 24 hours. You usually wait between 4-6 weeks to receive your NIN, fortunately for me I received mine within a week (life saver!). Britbound however gives you their address that you can use before you find a house – however, what they don’t tell you is that can only be used by Aussies and Kiwis, because they are already on a visa. So basically what you have is nothing when you have a meeting at a bank. And when you leave you also have, you guessed it right, nothing.
3. Free money transfer – if by free you mean you have to pay for it, then sure.
4. SIM card – in order to get it delivered to you to Slovenia it’s £10, if you want it to get delivered to UK it’s £5. Don’t do it, just get giffgaff.
5. Employment advice and help with CV – they send you a CV template that you then fill in yourself.
6. Welcome meeting – 2 hours of hanging out. I guess there’s free chips and beer.
7. Help with TAX and getting your NIN – yet again, they make a phone call for you. As for tax I have actually seen an event they created on tax my 2nd year in so good job.
8. Help and advice with finding a house – they give you advice.
9. Traditional Pub Lunch – nope.
10. Free entry to ‘The Church‘ – £15
11. 3 day gym membership card – I think I actually have this somewhere.
12. Free Monopoly Pub crawl – free for the first time.
13. Free subscription for their Social Events Club – basically their 30/31 day calendar of events they organize and you have to pay for.
But, being lazy and naive, I didn’t stop there. I paid extra for a Britbound Job starter pack (+126€).
So basically, to start working as soon as possible, they offer you a Job Starter Pack which means they have to find you a job in 14 days upon arrival or they have to give you your money back. If you wait for them, as some have, you might as well pack up and leave. Again, as some have. There is no job and there is no money back.
So what to me is Britbound? If you want to meet people, I guess it’s okay for events. But mostly, I would say they just trick you to subscribe to their monthly events and annoy you for the rest of your life.
So how did I survive? I just took my own life in my own hands. Don’t depend on others and waste money on something you are capable of doing yourself. Use that money on the stupidest thing and it will still be better spent. It is all a part of the experience – do it on your own. You need to be searching for a house like crazy, being told they got someone else 10 minutes before your viewing. You need to party until 6, wake up at 7, have a job interview at 9, look for houses until 4 and view until you drop. Because when you are done, and you will be, you will be proud of yourself. And you will have grown.
I hope this helps.
Thank you for reading.